5 essential social media marketing tips for small businesses
If you run your business social media accounts like your personal account, the chances of seeing an ROI are pretty slim. Why? Social media marketing is all about building your brand, engaging with your audience, and strengthening customer relationships, and this usually requires a dedicated strategy to ensure everything is 100% on brand. If it’s not, and you’re just sharing pictures of your dinner, it’s not likely to convert into followers, engagement, or sales – unless you own a cooking or restaurant business, of course!
The point is, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach social media for your business, and unfortunately, many businesses do it wrong. That’s why, we’re going to focus on the right way to approach social media marketing for your business.
So how can we successfully leverage social media to build your tribe of raving fans?
Read on for our top tips on how to successfully run your business social media – including a few directly from the gal responsible for our own social media marketing, Erica Timmerman, owner and chief strategist of picnic social strategies.
#1: Know your brand. Get to know your audience. Choose your channels strategically.
The first step of any marketing strategy is to ensure you know your brand inside and out. What does your brand voice sound like? What type of audience does your brand resonate with? If your brand was a person, what would they be like? You should always be sharing content that is on-brand, written in your brand voice, and relevant to your specific audience.
Having a good feel for your brand will also help you pick the right social media channels. It’s not enough to just have a presence on every channel; your audience expects you to be online, available, and engaged, and depending on the size of your business, it can be incredibly costly to invest that type of time on every single platform.
When first starting out, start small. Research your audience, learn the ins-and-outs of each platform, and choose 1-2 channels strategically. Take the time to find out where your audience is spending the majority of their time. And chances are, if your competitors are there, you’ll want to be there too.
If your business is more visual-based, Instagram can provide your business many opportunities to show off your creativity. Likewise, if you’re all about creating videos to educate or show off your brand, YouTube may be more up your alley. As for teenagers, you won’t find many on Facebook anymore – you’ll likely have better luck reaching Gen-Z through TikTok!
“We need to be able to create that authenticity on social media, and that actually takes time and effort to understand your customers and create content that’s actually interesting to them.”
Erica Timmerman, Tactical Titans, S2 E24
#2: Don’t pitch, pitch, pitch
Social media is a great, free marketing tool for businesses to reach a large audience with promotional content and advertising, but more importantly, social media is the place to connect, engage, and build relationships with your audience.
Your followers don’t want to be scrolling through their Facebook or Instagram feed and be bombarded with purely promotional posts from their favourite brands. Do you? While there is a place for these more salesy posts on social media, your priority should be creating valuable and educational content that engages with your audience.
There are two basic content rules that social media marketers are building their strategies around:
- The 80/20 rule: Share 80% value-based or engaging content and 20% self-promotional or salesy posts.
- The rule of thirds: Share ⅓ value-based content, ⅓ promotional content, and ⅓ curated, user-generated content.
Both strategies emphasize value-based, on-brand content over blatant pitching. Successful business social accounts strike a mix between value and promo.
#3: Start and continue conversations
“Social media is a way for people to talk to each other through different mediums.”
Erica Timmerman, Tactical Titans | S2 E24
One thing many businesses often forget about social media is the social aspect. Planning and scheduling content for your feed is only part of the equation, but you can’t just post and run. You need to stick around, check in often to respond when others comment on your posts, and interact with other businesses and brands by starting conversations.
Your goal is to respond to every comment on your posts, no matter how minute. Even if someone just comments with a few emojis or a “cool post!”, you still want to respond to that. Followers want to see that you’re active on your channel, and the algorithms like to promote posts with more likes and comments.
It’s imperative to respond to criticism too! If someone posts a scathing review, put on your PR hat and respond empathetically, professionally, and in your brand voice. Your followers will be watching to see how you respond.
#4: Post frequently and consistently
The biggest question social media marketers get asked by businesses is, “how often should I be posting?”
Every social media marketer will give you a different answer. And that answer could change the next time that social media platform updates its algorithms. There are many factors that these algorithms use to decide which posts to show at the top of your follower’s feeds. These include:
- Frequency of posting
- Day of the week
- Time of day
- Content length and hashtags
- Number and quality of likes, comments, and shares/reposts
According to Hootsuite, the following frequency is suggested per platform:
- Instagram: 3 to 7 times per week
- Facebook: 1 to 2 times per day
- Twitter: 1 to 5 times per day
- LinkedIn: 1 to 5 times per day
Don’t forget that quality is also important. Like our moms used to say, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”
Ultimately, choose a frequency that you commit to, with quality content, and start there. Choose a frequency, stick with it, and check your analytics to see which posts are getting more engagement and reach. Then, post more of the types of posts that are doing well, stick with this new content strategy, and analyze your results again. Eventually, you’ll find the perfect mix for your business and audience.
#5: Build and create customer relationships
Social media is meant to be a platform for conversations and to bring people together. For your business, it’s a great way to bring you closer to your customers. It’s a great addition to your Relationship Marketing strategy.
Relationship Marketing includes things you do to develop relationships with your followers and prospects, rather than selling all the time. The idea is that after you’ve formed a relationship, they are more likely to purchase from you when they see your pitches. Social media is a great, online way to start or continue relationships with our followers.
Approach social media for your business like creating and nurturing relationships. You’ll automatically write more engaging posts and have more authentic conversations.
What’s the first step to starting with social media?
If you’re NEW to social media
Do a bit of research on your audience and what social media channels they’re spending most of their time on. Strategically choose 1 to 2 channels to start with. And create a content plan and strategy that is consistent, authentic, and relevant to your audience.
If you’ve had your channel for a while
Look at your analytics to see which posts are getting the most likes and engagement. What is it about these posts that resonate better with your audience? Post more of the good and less of the bad, and focus on posting frequency and the value-based content your analytics say is going well.
For more tips on how to successfully leverage social media marketing for your small business, listen to our recent podcast with special guest, Erica Timmerman of picnic social strategies as she chats with Justin about the impact being online, available, and authentic can have on your small to medium-sized business. Available now on all streaming platforms. Listen now
Are you looking for more hands-on coaching and business advice to help you gain clarity and confidence in your decision-making? Our TACTICAL coaching program is specially designed to support small business owners and entrepreneurs through the detours and get you back on track to your destination. Learn more